Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craigslist: Review by Stephen Vowles

Bryon Lane who wrote this wonderfully wacky, almost screwball, comedy highlights interesting aspects of celebrity: egotistical mania, pomposity and artistic snobbery with a touch of elitism thrown in for good measure.

Miss Swinton (played by Tom Lenk) answers an advert to become a flatmate and sweeps into the apartment belonging to Walt (played by Byron) wearing a bubble wrap cape and very dark sunglasses. The whole play has been put together immaculately and Tom Lenk has so immersed himself in this role – to an almost grotesque level – that the caricature means the laughs just keep on coming. 

Obscure and slightly abstract in places Walt is at a crossroads in his life and is thinking about suicide because his narcissistic ex-boyfriend Bob is only interested in social media – and the fact when Walt ordered a burger to be delivered it arrived covered in his hated pickles. Lenk as Tilda is a nosey parker and by adopting an attitude of being like a fairy godmother – and this is played in such an OTT method kind of way – it makes for great comedy. 

The play also includes interaction with the audience where Tilda clicks her fingers creating an intentional and dramatic ‘snap’ moment to deliver a supposedly insightful monologue to an unseen camera. This of course adds to the pretentiousness and ostentatiousness of the Tilda character and actually as the play draws to its end Walt, now self-assured, can also make a magical ‘snap’ – where as before he had been told only special people can do the ‘snap’. Very funny and well-crafted piece of American theatre. A true highlight of this year’s Vault Festival. 


Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craigslist runs to 17 February at The Crescent, The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo SE1 7NN. Box office:

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